By Glenn Rutherford, Record Editor
Since the CSA campaign came on the heels of the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Building a Future of Hope fundraising effort, those who lead the campaign, including Nicholas K. Eve, director of the Office of Stewardship and Development, were “amazed and pleased” by the outcome, Eve said.
“We’ve all known that the people of the archdiocese are generous,” he added in an interview at the Chancery last week. “That’s why we’re confident again this year.”
The 2014 campaign goal is $3.1 million, a figure that was determined following a donor study of a half-dozen “mini-focus groups,” Eve explained. “It was an effort to gather suggestions and ideas of ways to help the CSA,” as well as to find new ways for possibly increasing donor “motivation,” as Eve called it.
This year donors will also be able to make a separate gift on their CSA donation forms to help increase the Priest Retirement Fund. “You could also view it as a second collection,” Eve said, “and what we’re hoping is that it will help people realize the importance of taking care of our retired priests.”
The CSA, which began this month, will continue into next spring. As in the past couple of years, the theme of the campaign is “Bringing Christ to Others.” But this year that theme also includes a quotation from Pope Francis — “Go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ.”
The CSA reaches to all corners of the archdiocese — it funds, Eve said, more than 100 ministries and programs. And many of those programs are seeing the need for more resources as a result of the additional needs of the people they serve.
“Year after year the people of the archdiocese demonstrate their generosity,” Eve noted. “There’s no question, though, that donors throughout the archdiocese, from city to country, are motivated givers as evidenced by last year’s success.
“Archbishop (Joseph E.) Kurtz refers to our efforts as ‘growing a generous heart,’ ” Eve said, and Matthew Schuhmann, coordinator of annual giving for the Stewardship Office, noted that the impetus to give often helps people “grow in their faith.”
“Ultimately, people give
to people,” Schuhmann noted, “and we have a six-minute video that provides examples, validation really, of the needs that people have.”
That video, which is available at www.archlou.org/CSA, has also been divided into four 90-second “minivideos,” Schuhmann said, for those people who might not have time to watch the entire presentation.
Among those 100 programs funded by the CSA, and one showing additional need, is the archdiocesan Vocation Office, where in just a few years the number of seminarians has grown from three to 16 — with more on the way.
There are costs associated with formation of a priestly vocation, of course, and growing costs of the Vocation Office is a “positive problem to have,” Eve said.
What really motivates the generosity of the people of the archdiocese, Schuhmann added, are the efforts of the pastors and priests.
“For instance, last year Holy Trinity in Fredericktown, Ky., where Father Matthew Hardesty is the pastor, increased its CSA contribution by 248 percent,” Schuhmann said. “And at Father Hardesty’s other parish, Holy Rosary Church in Manton, Ky., their parish increase was 245 percent.”
So it is obvious, both Eve and Schuhmann noted, that the leadership of pastors “inspires the generosity of parishioners.”
Another key effort in this year’s CSA campaign is to get people who’ve been involved in the past to examine their contributions in recent years and determine if they aren’t able to increase their gift.
“We’d like the $500 donator to see if they could possibly donate $800 to $1,000 this year,” Eve said, “or the $5,000 contributor to consider if they are able to contribute $6,000 or $8,000.”
What contributors need to be certain of, he added, is that their contribution finds its way back into the community through one of the 100 programs or agencies the campaign serves.
“The needs at Catholic Charities are always increasing,” Eve said. “In fact, wherever you look — vocations, evangelization, lifelong formation — there are growing needs everywhere.
“I think people recognize the good the archdiocese accomplishes,” he added. “And that’s why they donate. They realize that we are going to put their gifts to good use, that we are going to be good stewards.”